Instead of making the same irrealistic New Year’s resolutions as you did last year, why not focus on making a few lasting changes to strengthen your online business? The secret is setting out clear, specific goals that you can easily tackle and measure. Here are a few ideas for 2016.
1. Start a newsletter.
If you haven’t started an email newsletter yet, now is a good time. Newsletters are a great way to keep your customers in the loop about your company’s latest news, build loyalty, and increase traffic. Be sure to send your newsletter regularly so your customers don’t forget about you. Regularly might mean every month, every two weeks or even every week, just make sure it’s consistent. Keep your topics short and sweet, and put time into creating quality content.
Still not sure? Check this out: a 2013 study by the Direct Marketing Association found that 66% of shoppers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message. That’s worth remembering.
2. Commit to updating your blog more often.
This is an easy one (it should be anyway!). Sit down with a calendar and map out posts for the next three months. Commit to writing posts ahead of time and scheduling them for automatic publication.
3. Reach out to partners.
To expand your reach, think about partnering up with other businesses. Could you run a marketing campaign with another local business? Or what about teaming up with another company to order supplies in bulk and benefit from lower prices? Maybe you could develop a branded product with another company? Whatever you decide, make sure to choose businesses that share your values and target the same customer base.
4. Implement monthly A/B testing.
If you’ve never done A/B testing, start this year. But don’t do too much at once; choose an element to test each month and use your findings to improve your site. Adding data to your toolkit will allow you to get a feel for what really works and make business judgements based on fact, not gut feeling.
5. Schedule 10 minutes of daily market research.
Running a business is time consuming as it is, but don’t overlook staying informed. Take time each morning to find out what’s going on in your industry. What are your competitors doing? What are your customers saying in forums? What’s happening in industries similar to yours? This kind of daily research will help you decide what business decisions to take and what elements to test and adjust, and it will also provide inspiration to keep your business fresh and relevant.
6. Contact the press.
Social media gets a lot of attention these days, but have you thought about contacting the old fashioned press? Starting with your local newspaper, commit to contacting two press outlets a month. Reach out to bloggers, pitch online versions of print publications and get in touch with your local radio station. Set a goal of 5 to 10 press features for this year and see how they impact your business.
7. Find a mentor.
No matter where you’re at in your business journey, it’s always helpful to get some outside advice. Consider asking someone you admire to mentor you. Decide what qualities you’d like to cultivate and what long term goals you’d like to achieve, and then approach the person with a plan. Mentoring could be as simple as sharing thoughts over coffee once a week or as involved as assessing your 5-year business plan. Decide what’s right for your business and go for it.